Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks – NBA, July 1, 2021
The Atlanta Hawks travel back to Milwaukee to battle the Bucks in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. It appeared that the Bucks had all the momentum heading into the fourth game after back-to-back wins in games two and three.
However, the Hawks put in their best display of the series so far in a 110-88 victory to level up the tie.
The win for the Hawks means that it kept up a trend that has now gone on for ten games in a row. This fixture has alternated wins between the home team and away team winning each game.
This is good news for Atlanta as it’s now the away teams turn to win should this freakish pattern continue. However, if it is to continue, they will have to do something they have only achieved once in nine games, and that is win in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are also averaging an impressive nine points more per game over the last ten meetings with the Hawks, thanks to their first-half performances, as they have averaged precisely nine points more heading into the second half of the game.
One area of the game that stands out between these two is in the rebounding department, as the Bucks have owned things here recently. However, they were evenly matched in game four, so perhaps that is the Hawks’ key to victory tonight and as we advance in the series.
Here is my Hawks vs. Bucks betting preview.
Hawks vs. Bucks Match Odds
All of the money is coming for the Hawks here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they started tonight’s game as the betting favorites. The handicap opened at five and a half points and has dropped to two points in a matter of hours.
This is by far the lowest handicap that the bookmakers have set, and it shows how seriously they are now taking the Hawks challenge.
The points total is similar to the one set last time out, and although it went under that night, I would say it looks on the low side, and you have to feel the Bucks can’t shoot as bad as they did that night again.
The Bucks have an impressive record of 22-6 at home against Eastern Conference teams and shows the enormous task the Hawks have on their hands.
Hawks Have a Plan
After losing back-to-back games in the series, it was clear the Hawks had to come into game four with a new game plan, and that’s precisely what they did.
After analyzing their shot chart, it’s evident they wanted to focus their attack down the left-hand side as this is where they did all of the damage, and given the result, it’s clear that the plan worked.
By taking this approach, the Hawks went at 50% from the field goal range, which is their highest success rate of the series. Will they adopt this approach again, or will the Bucks be ready for them this time?
Game five has been lucky for the Hawks this season and in general, as they won both of their ties this season against the Knicks and the 76ers, and they have only lost one of their previous seven-game five encounters.
Although Atlanta won an NBA championship back in 1958, they have never won an Eastern Conference title as their win was before the Conference system was introduced.
Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:
Against The Spread
- They have won two-thirds of their previous 18 matches.
- Atlanta has lost seven of their last nine games played on the road on a Thursday night.
- Seven of their previous eight matches have gone under the betting total.
- Only one of their last five games on the road has failed to go under the points total.
- Atlanta is 14-6 in their previous 20 matches.
- The Hawks have only won four of their last 18 games against the Bucks.
- They have won 13 and lost six of their previous 19 matches against teams from the east coast.
It seems it’s not only the Bucks that the Hawks have struggled against to make offensive rebounds, as their record in this year’s playoffs is amongst the worst of all of the teams who made them.
That, combined with their very average shooting, means they need to rely heavily on their defense. However, it also does mean they have plenty of room for improvement, having good this far with mediocre stats.
This is all culminated in their average points per game in the playoffs, which currently stands at only 105.
Another area that could improve is their passing, as they have made an extremely low number of assists during the playoffs this season.
If they are to improve in attack, you feel Trae Young will have to be an integral part of that. Although he missed the win last time out, he is the architect for the Hawks and has big shoes to fill.
Bogdan Bogdanovic did his best to step up to the plate, and he had by far his most productive game of the series. The Hawks will be hoping he can produce more of this tonight.
Their defense has been brilliant at times in the playoffs, and they will undoubtedly have to continue if they are to progress. In each series, they have laid down a marker of intent by holding their opponents to a very low score, throwing them off their game.
They kept the Knicks to 89 and then won the next game, the 76ers to 96 and won the next game, and the Bucks to 88 last time. Can history repeat itself tonight?
The injuries appear to be stacking up for Atlanta at the worst time possible. They will be without Goodwin and Hunter, who have long-term injuries, and arguably their best two players in Capela and Young are listed as questionable to feature. However, they are hopeful Bogdanovic will recover from a niggling knee injury.
The Bucks are wounded in more ways than one as not only did they suffer their heaviest defeat of the series, they also lost their talisman Antetokounmpo who remains doubtful to play tonight.
The injury to their star player threw them off their game, and it was by far their worst shooting performance of the tie. Regardless if their Greek star plays or not, you feel they can’t play as bad as they did that night.
They have also lost back-to-back games once over their last 30 matches, which came against the Nets in the previous round.
The Bucks have also lost one of their last 15 games played in Milwaukee. However, that did come against tonight’s opponents in game one.
They also need to be mindful that game five hasn’t been as kind to them as it has the Hawks, as they have lost five of their previous seven encounters. There will also be that niggling doubt chipping away at them as to whether or not they can go all the way after losing their last five Eastern Conference Finals.
Here are the latest betting trends for Milwaukee:
Against The Spread
- They have won four and lost two of their previous six matches.
- The Bucks have won five of their last seven games against teams from the Southeast Division.
- Eight of their previous 11 matches have gone under the betting total.
- Only one of their last six games against the Hawks has failed to go under the points total.
- Milwaukee is 13-6 in their previous 19 matches.
The Bucks have also been one of the worst shooters in this year’s playoffs, especially from the three-point range and the free-throw line.
However, like tonight’s opponents, they have excelled in the offensive rebounding department, and no other team has made more rebounds than them at either end of the court.
Milwaukee also hasn’t used the ball great like the Hawks, but their problem has been holding on to it rather than making assists.
Thankfully for their fans, they are making many steals per game, so they are quick to win possession back.
Brook Lopez has been key to achieving many of these steals, but he has to do much better than he has recently, as he continues to struggle against the Hawks.
They have undoubtedly been the most disciplined team in defense throughout the playoffs, proving what a hard team they are to break down most nights.
As well as the injury to Giannis, the Bucks will miss Di Vincenzo, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.
Hawks vs. Bucks Betting Pick
The Hawks impressed me in game four, they had a game plan, and they executed it superbly. However, the Bucks had their game plan thrown out of the window when Antetokounmpo left the game through injury.
You feel they will come into tonight’s game with a couple of different strategies which cater with and without their star man. They also can’t play any worse than they did last time out.
When I look at the Hawks’ two wins, I don’t believe they did anything exceptional in terms of their ability to win those games.
Yes, their defense was superb last time out, but the horrendous shooting of the Bucks aided that. I feel the return to Milwaukee will give them the boost they need to retake the lead in the series.
We must also remember the Bucks two star players are also carrying injuries into the matchup here. I believe it could be a close one, so let’s take them straight up to win this evening.
Bucks To Win-126